TCJ’s Best of 2005

April 14, 2006

The Comics Journal took an interesting approach to its Best of 2005 offerings in issue #275, asking a variety of critics, commentators, and professionals to offer their choices in a variety of formats. I thought it would be fun to put together a list of all the titles that got the nod and note how many times each was cited.

I was very, very wrong.

It’s not that the pieces aren’t interesting reading. It’s a lot of fun seeing all of the different perspectives and taking in the wide range of quality titles that came out last year. (And it’s nice to see so many manga titles recognized.)

It was just kind of a pain to filter through them all, and the copy editing of the various pieces didn’t help. Sometimes they included creator and publisher information, sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes the same book was referred to in a number of different ways, or words in the title were misspelled.

I was a little bug-eyed by the time I reached the last list, so forgive me if I’ve recreated any glitches or added new ones of my own. I flatly refused to include one contributor’s list of “books that probably would have made (his) best of list had (he) actually gotten around to reading them.”

The big winners were Black Hole (Pantheon) with 11 mentions, Epileptic (Pantheon) with 9, Walt & Skeezix 1921-22 (Drawn and Quarterly) with 8, Wimbledon Green with 7, and Tales Designed to Thrizzle (Fantagraphics) with 6.

Sometimes people would cite a title, while others would specify individual issues of that title, so I’ve listed those separately. For example, six different people cited Or Else (Drawn and Quarterly), but three favored the title as a whole, while three specified issue #2.

Here’s the key of contributors: Noah Berlatsky = NB; Johanna Draper Carlson = JDC; Tom Crippen = TC; Dirk Deppey = DD; Evan Dorkin = ED; Shaenon Garrity = SG; Paul Gravett = PG; Sammy Harkham = SH; R.C. Harvey = RCH; Jeet Heer = JH; Rich Kreiner = RK; Chris Mautner = CM; Calvin Reid = CR; Diana Schutz = DS; Adam Stephanides = AS; Craig Thompson = CT; Tom Underhill = TU; Kristy Valenti = KV; Rob Vollmar = RV; Kent Worchester = KW.

I’ll be posting the list in three parts: #-F, G-P, and Q-Y.

(Corrected, because spell check isn’t my friend, and I wasn’t nearly smart enough to catch that it was turning “Jeet” into “Janet.”)


TCJ’s Best of 2005: #-F

April 14, 2006

100%, DC/Vertigo (TU, KW – 2)
100 Bullets, DC/Vertigo (DS)
676 Apparitions of Killoffer (ED, PG, CM – 3)
99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style (JDC)
Achewood, self-published (DD, SG – 2)
Acme Novelty Library, Pantheon (DD, ED, RK, AS, TU – 5)
Acme Novelty Library #16, self-published (DD, JH, RK, TU, RV – 5)
All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder (TU)
All-Star Superman, DC (SG, TU, RV – 3)
Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature (RCH)
Angry Youth Comix Vol. 2 #8, Fantagraphics (NB)
Anywhere But Here, Fantagraphics (DD, KV – 2)
Attitude: Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles, NBM (DD)
Avignon: Gods and Demons (JDC)
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad Vol. 1, Tokyopop (CR)
Best Political Cartoons of the year, 2006 Edition (RCH)
Berlin (RK)
Big Questions, Drawn & Quarterly (DD)
Birth of a Nation: A Comic Novel, Random House (RV)
BJ and Da Dogs, Picture Box (SH)
Black Hole, Pantheon (DD, ED, SH, JH, RK, CM, CR, CT, TU, RV, KW – 11)
Black Panther #1-7, Marvel (RCH)
Blue Monday #4: Painted Moon, Oni Press (KV)
Blue Spring, Viz (DD, RV – 2)
Bolland Strips! Knockabout (PG)
Brother, Drama Queen (PG)
BRPD: The Black Flame, Dark Horse (SH, TU – 2)
Buddha, Vertical (ED, CM, DS, RV – 4)
Buja’s Diary, NBM (RV)
Burying Sandwiches, self-published (CM)
Capote in Kansas, Oni Press (JDC, RCH – 2)
Chip Kidd: Book One, Rizzoli (JH)
Clamp: North Side, Tokyopop (NB)
Comic Book Encyclopedia (RCH)
Comic Book Holocaust, self-published (NB)
The Comics Journal #269 – The Shoujo Manga Issue, Fantagraphics (RK)
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes (ED, RK, RV – 3)
The Complete Dennis the Menace 1951-1952, Fantagraphics (CM, RV, KW – 3)
The Complete Peanuts (ED, RK, DS, KW – 4)
The Complete Peanuts 1955-56, Fantagraphics (RV)
The Complete Peanuts Vols. 3-4, Fantagraphics (CM)
Complete Crumb Comics, Fantagraphics (DD)
Concrete: The Human Dilemma (RCH)
Copper, self-published (SG)
Countdown to Infinite Crisis, DC (TC, CM – 2)
Cromartie High School, ADV (ED, CM, RV – 3)
Dance of the Gods (RCH)
Daredevil: Decalogue, Marvel (TU)
The Dark Horse Book of the Dead (ED)
The Darkness, Kingly Books (PG)
Death Note, Viz (PG)
Demo, AiT/PlanetLar (RV)
Desolation Jones, DC (RV)
Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man, La Mano (JH, RK, TU – 3)
Dicebox, self-published (SG)
Doc Frankenstein, Burlyman Entertainment (RV)
Dogs and Water, Drawn and Quarterly (TU)
Dr. Slump, Viz (CM)
L’Ecole Emportée, Glénat (PG)
Embroideries, Pantheon (CM)
Epileptic, Pantheon (DD, ED, RK, CM, CR, AS, CT, TU, KW – 9)
Ex Machina, DC/Vertigo (DS, KW – 2)
Ex Machina: The First Hundred Days, DC/Vertigo (CR)
The Eye of Dart-an-Gor (RCH)
Fell (RCH)
Flaming Carrot, Image (RV)
Flight 2, Image (SG)
Fluffy, Cabnon Press (PG)
Foul Play (ED)
Free Radicals, self-published (NB)
Frankenstein Now and Forever, Typocrat (AS
The Freebooters, Fantagraphics (DS)
From Eroica with Love, DC/CMX (SG)
Fruits Basket, Tokyopop (AS)
Funny Ladies (RCH)

Here’s the key of contributors: Noah Berlatsky = NB; Johanna Draper Carlson = JDC; Tom Crippen = TC; Dirk Deppey = DD; Evan Dorkin = ED; Shaenon Garrity = SG; Paul Gravett = PG; Sammy Harkham = SH; R.C. Harvey = RCH; Jeet Heer = JH; Rich Kreiner = RK; Chris Mautner = CM; Calvin Reid = CR; Diana Schutz = DS; Adam Stephanides = AS; Craig Thompson = CT; Tom Underhill = TU; Kristy Valenti = KV; Rob Vollmar = RV; Kent Worchester = KW.

(Corrected, because spell check isn’t my friend, and I wasn’t nearly smart enough to catch that it was turning “Jeet” into “Janet.”)


TCJ’s Best of 2005: G-P

April 14, 2006

Ganges #1, Fantagraphics (SH)
Gaylord Phoenix #3, self-published (NB)
Gemma Bovery (RK, CM, CR, KW – 4)
Genshiken Vol. 3, Del Rey (CR)
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence Ani-manga, Viz (CR)
Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface, Dark Horse (CR)
Godland, Image (CM)
Graphic Novels: Everything You Need to Know (RCH)
Hikaru No Go (JDC)
Hikaru No Go Vol. 5 (CR)
Hogan’s Alley (RK)
Hopeless Savages: B-Sides: The Origin of the Dusted Bunnies (JDC)
Hot Gimmick, Viz (JDC)
I”s Vol. 4, Viz (CR)
Ice Haven, Pantheon (JH, RK, TU, KW – 4)
The Innocents, Fantagraphics (TU)
International Journal of Comic Art (RK)
Iron Wok Jan, DrMaster (RV)
It’s Superman! Chronicle Books (KW)
The Island (ED)
Jack Cross (RCH)
Jeff Hawke’s Cosmos, JH Club (PG)
JSA Classified #1-3, DC (RCH)
Justice N Mercy: the Concept Art of Min-Woo Hyung, Tokyopop (NB)
King, Fantagraphics (DD, CR, RV – 3)
Krazy & Ignatz 1935-1936, Fantagraphics (RCH, AS, CM, RV – 4)
Krazy Kat (RK)
El Largo Tren Oscuro, La Luz (PG)
The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Gemstone (CM)
Likewise #3, Slave Labor Graphics (NB)
Little Lulu (ED, JH, RK- 3)
Little Nemo in Slumberland: So Many Splendid Sundays (DD, ED, RCH, JH, RV – 5)
Livewires, Marvel (RV)
The Long Haul, Oni Press (DS)
Love and Rockets (ED, RK, CM, DS – 4)
Luba #10 (RK)
Magic Beach (RCH)
Maximum Fantastic Four, Marvel (CR)
MBQ, Tokyopop (CR)
The Merchant of Dennis the Menace (ED)
Modern Arf (RCH)
Modern Masters: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, TwoMorrows (RCH)
Mome, Fantagraphics (CM)
Mome, Vols. 1 and 2, Fantagraphics (DS)
Mutts (RK)
Nana Vol. 1, Viz (DD, CR – 2)
Nat Turner (RCH, KW – 2)
New West (RCH)
New Yorker Book of Art Cartoons (RCH)
Night Fisher, Fantagraphics (CR, KW – 2)
Nil, Slave Labor Graphics (DD)
Now Who Do We Blame? (RK)
Optic Nerve #10, Drawn and Quarterly (JH, AS – 2)
Ordinary Victories, NBM (CM, CT – 2
Or Else, Drawn and Quarterly (CM, RV, KW – 3)
Or Else #2, Drawn and Quarterly (SG, RK, TU – 3)
Or Else #3, Drawn and Quarterly (SG)
Owly: Just a Little Blue, Top Shelf (JDC)
Owly: Flying Lessons, Top Shelf (JDC)
Palookaville (RK, DS – 2)
Paul Moves Out (KW)
Perfect Example (KW)
La Perdida, Fantagraphics (DS)
The Pin-Up Art of Dan DeCarlo, Fantagraphics (NB, KV – 2)
Planetary, DC/Wildstorm (RK, RV – 2)
Planetes, Tokyopop (JDC, TU – 2)
The Plot (RCH, KW – 2)
Pluto Vol. 2, Shogakukan (DD)
Powers, Marvel (DS)
Promethea, ABC/Wildstorm (RV)
The Punisher, Marvel (KW)
Pure Trance, Last Gasp (DD, RV – 2)
The Push Man and Other Stories, Drawn and Quarterly (ED, CM, RV – 3)Pyongyang, Drawn and Quarterly (CM, CT, TU, RV – 4)

Here’s the key of contributors: Noah Berlatsky = NB; Johanna Draper Carlson = JDC; Tom Crippen = TC; Dirk Deppey = DD; Evan Dorkin = ED; Shaenon Garrity = SG; Paul Gravett = PG; Sammy Harkham = SH; R.C. Harvey = RCH; Jeet Heer = JH; Rich Kreiner = RK; Chris Mautner = CM; Calvin Reid = CR; Diana Schutz = DS; Adam Stephanides = AS; Craig Thompson = CT; Tom Underhill = TU; Kristy Valenti = KV; Rob Vollmar = RV; Kent Worchester = KW.

(Corrected, because spell check isn’t my friend, and I wasn’t nearly smart enough to catch that it was turning “Jeet” into “Janet.”)


TCJ’s Best of 2005: Q-Y

April 14, 2006

The Quitter, DC/Vertigo (CM, KW – 2)
The R. Crumb Handbook (ED)
The Rabbi’s Cat, Pantheon (CM, CR, CT, RV, KW – 5)
Rocky Vol. 1 (KW)
Rusty Brown (KW)
Saikano, Viz (RV)
Salamander Dream, AdHouse Books (CM)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Oni Press (JDC, ED, CM, CR – 4)
Seaguy, DC/Vertigo (TU)
The Secret Voice, AdHouse Books (CM)
Secrets and Shadows: The Life and Art of Gene Colan, TwoMorrows (RCH)
Seeing Things (ED)
Sensual Phrase, Viz (JDC)
Seven Soldiers, DC (RK, CM, TU, RV – 4)
Sexy Voice and Robo, Viz (DD)
Showcase Presents The Green Arrow, DC (KW)
Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 1, DC (RV)
Skaggy the Lost, Slave Labor Graphics (RV)
Skyscrapers of the Midwest, AdHouse Books (TU)
Skyscrapers of the Midwest #2, AdHouse Books (DD)
Sleeper, DC/Wildstorm (TU)
Sleeper: The Road Home, DC/Wildstorm (CM)
Sock Monkey: That Darn Yarn (RK)
Solo, DC (SG)
Solo #6, DC (RK)
Solstice (JDC)
Spaz, self-published (KV)
Spiral Bound, Top Shelf (CM)
Steinberg at the New Yorker (RCH)
Street Angel, Slave Labor Graphics (CR, RV – 2)
Der Struwwelmaakies (RK, KW – 2)
Stuff of Dreams #3, Fantagraphics (SH, KW – 2)
Sugar Sugar Rune, Del Rey (RV)
Swan, DC/CMX (RV)
Swiminy Purpose, self-published (PG)
Tales Designed to Thrizzle #1, Fantagraphics (NB, ED, CM, AS, TU, RV – 6)
Tales of Green Fuzz, Amos (SH)
Thimble Theatre, published in The Comics Journal, Fantagraphics (ED)
Thrilling Tom and the Dancing Bug Stories (KW)
The Times of Botchan, Fanfare/Ponent Mon (RV)
The Times of Botchan Vol. 1, Fanfare/Ponent Mon (DD)
Top 10: The 49ers, DC/Wildstorm (CM)
Tramps like Us, Tokyopop (JDC)
A Treasury of Victorian Murder: The Murder of Abraham Lincoln, NBM (SG, TU – 2)
Tricked, Top Shelf (JDC, TC, CM, DS – 4)
Ultimates 2, Marvel (KW)
“Walkin’ in the Streets,” published in Zap #15, Last Gasp (SH)
The Walking Dead, Image (TU)
Walt & Skeezix 1921-22, Drawn and Quarterly (DD, ED, SH, RCH, RK, CM, RV, KW – 8)
War’s End (KW)
We3, DC/Vertigo (RK, CR, TU, RV – 4)
We All Die Alone (ED)
Why Are You Doing This? (DS)
Wimbledon Green, Drawn and Quarterly (ED, SG, JH, CM, DS, RV, KW – 7)
Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed? Top Shelf (JDC)
Winsor McCay: His Life and Art, Abrams (KW)
The World on Sunday: Graphic Art in Joseph Pulitzer’s Newspaper (1898-1911), Bullfinch (RCH, JH – 2)
World War 3 Illustrated, self-published (RV)
Y: The Last Man, DC/Vertigo (RCH, KW – 2)
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou Vol. 13, Kodansha (DD)
Yotsuba&!, ADV (CM, AS – 2)

Here’s the key of contributors: Noah Berlatsky = NB; Johanna Draper Carlson = JDC; Tom Crippen = TC; Dirk Deppey = DD; Evan Dorkin = ED; Shaenon Garrity = SG; Paul Gravett = PG; Sammy Harkham = SH; R.C. Harvey = RCH; Jeet Heer = JH; Rich Kreiner = RK; Chris Mautner = CM; Calvin Reid = CR; Diana Schutz = DS; Adam Stephanides = AS; Craig Thompson = CT; Tom Underhill = TU; Kristy Valenti = KV; Rob Vollmar = RV; Kent Worchester = KW.

(Corrected, because spell check isn’t my friend, and I wasn’t nearly smart enough to catch that it was turning “Jeet” into “Janet.”)